Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mozart’s Brain and Unleashing Your Gray Matter’s Potential

Whatever your faith or ethnicity (or lack thereof), your special late-in-the-year holiday—whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Kwanzaa, or even Festivus—has now come and gone. A new year beckons with new opportunities!

Some say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I’ve often equated the New Year with the chance to learn something new. Let’s be clear: I am no spring chicken. But, the prospect of a new year, untarnished by frustration, disappointment or any other vicissitude to which we humans are all too prone, still holds the promise of encountering something new and interesting.

Turns out this is a very healthy trait. Dr. Richard Restak, in Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential (Harmony Books, 2001), tells us that, contrary to the lesson drawn from the old adage, a person’s capacity for new learning “remains and may increase as you grow older,” and that “the brain is not a static structure, but exhibits a remarkable plasticity over time according to the richness of a person’s experience.” The more you learn, the more you want to learn, and the easier it is to learn, regardless of age.

All of which makes me think about some serial entrepreneurs I’ve known—the ones who have started business after business, sometimes in different industries, often with repeated success. Chances are they aren’t doing it for the money (or only for the money). It’s the challenge of building something new—and the joy of new learning that is part of the building process.

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